Throughout her prolific tennis career, Serena Williams consistently used clothing as a means of self-presentation and to drive change, breaking barriers and pushing the traditional dress codes of tennis.
Williams revealed in the September issue of Vogue that she'll be retiring from tennis after the 2022 U.S. Open. On Monday evening, Williams kicked off her final tournament with a convincing singles win against Montenegrin tennis player Danka Kovinić — and with a powerful sartorial statement.
For her first match in Flushing Meadows, Williams collaborated with longtime partner Nike to design her tennis outfit. The look, which is inspired by figure-skating dresses, was designed through a "hands-on-approach," according to the brand. It features long, sheer sleeves, a sparkling bodice with encrusted crystals resembling a galaxy of shining stars, and a six-layer skirt — one layer for every U.S. Open title she has won.
She also donned a matching jacket and tote, both adorned with crystals that brilliantly refracted light and happened to mirror the starry night sky under which she won her evening match.
To finish off the look, the 23-time Grand Slam champion took to the court in a pair of custom PE NikeCourt Flare 2, which feature a diamond-encrusted swoosh as well as solid gold lace deubrés designed by Serena Williams Jewelry.
Williams' daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was spotted sitting behind the stands with her father, Alexis Ohanian. The four year old matched her mother in a sparkly Nike dress, her hair in white beads, a clear nod to the look Serena and Venus Williams sported when they made their tennis debuts in the 1990s.
As the tennis legend prepares to bid farewell to the sport, Williams and Nike pulled out all the stops in crafting a show-stopping look full of symbolism, style and of course, sparkles.